Dear Ms Bhavsar...

Madam,

You know that backpack that you pulled off the conveyor belt at Mumbai Airport last evening? The blue and grey Quechua one? Yeah, that's mine. If you open it — which I presume you have by now, unless you were carrying it for someone else. In which case they should have opened it — then you (or they) will find not your (or their) earthly possessions, but mine. 

You see, I've just moved cities, from Delhi to Bombay. So that backpack has one-fourth of all the objects that make up my life and my self. As you might have noticed, it's also new. I bought it last month from the Decathlon in Ansal Plaza, which is why if you'll take a look, you'll notice it's very clean and thus unlike yours despite the shared colour scheme. Yours is battered, weathered, has a wad of tissue noticeably stuffed into the front netting, and is still in Mumbai airport. I know because it was lying forlorn and unclaimed at Baggage Services (that's how I know your name. It was on the baggage tag. 20-20 vision for the win!), where I stood for more than an hour in an effort to goad SpiceJet into acknowledging my not getting one item of luggage is a violation of the financial and legal contract between me as a passenger and them as an airline. They're blaming it on you, accusing you of carelessness for having taken the wrong backpack and either not turning on your phone or giving an incorrect number for their records. In SpiceJet's defence, they did try to call you repeatedly, but your phone is unreachable. This led to the speculation of whether you're a spy or a terrorist who has abandoned their bag at the airport, and that wad of tissue is a secret code.

Presuming there isn't an Operation Used Tissue unfolding among us, that is an excellent way to distinguish your backpack, I think. The white tissue is very visible, stands out in contrast to the black and grey surrounding it and who's going to pull out that wad, after all? Unfortunately, it didn't work. You picked up my new, clean and un-tissue-marked backpack. You didn't even notice that it's significantly more stuffed than your backpack, which makes me admire your muscular capacity almost as much as I do your ability to ignore details.  

After much pontification, I've come to the conclusion that you hate airports. It's the only explanation that accounts for you scampering off with my backpack and not returning it in all this time. Clearly you don't want to be anywhere near the place where airplanes take off and land. Why else would you not return to the airport a backpack that is obviously not yours? Or when, upon opening the zip on the top flap, you found approximately six to eight knickers, of which two need to go to the wash? Maybe you didn't open the zip and opened the flap instead. Were you also carrying to Mumbai one of those small kadais that are brilliant for roasting dry masala and making tadka? I can understand someone wanting to keep my bronze, dokra Saraswati. She's beautifully imperious. Wanting to keep my saris and blouses also makes sense. Those are some sexy backs in those designs, which you can get copied even if you're not the same size as me. But do you really want that notebook that has mostly doodles and some notes on basic psychology, heroism and masculinity? Because if so, please feel free to photocopy and then return the backpack.

Keep the Saraswati, if you so desire. My father always says Saraswati isn't to be claimed for yourself. If she wants to stay with you, who am I to object? But my running (ok, walking) shoes are in there. It's the first time in years that I've spent money on something that has nothing but an athletic purpose. Madam, you not returning the backpack is the reason I'm growing fatter at this moment because had I had those shoes, I could have gone for a walk. That backpack also has material that's essential to the project I'm supposed to be working on next month, so if you don't return it, you're actively involved in rendering me unemployed and distinctly close to penniless in the near future.

If you can't bear to come to the airport, please send it via someone (maybe Scootsy can do it for you?) or call SpiceJet and get them to pick it up. To rely upon SpiceJet to sort this matter out for us is probably going to be a mistake. I don't have all the empirical evidence to back this up, but I'm pretty certain that SpiceJet is basically an agent of malevolent evil, intent upon obstructing my return to Mumbai. First, the flight from Delhi (SG 161), as you know, was delayed. Then, they seated me next to a man who was hale and hearty for the entire duration of the flight but, literally seconds after we landed, vomited copiously all over my row. (This is why I am not in possession of my boarding pass anymore.) I'm convinced the only reason no disaster struck me between the jet bridge and the conveyor belt is that this area is Mumbai Airport authority's domain, rather than SpiceJet's. We already know what happened at the conveyor belt, so no need to rehash that story. 

A special shoutout to Rahul of SpiceJet's supervisor who thinks SpiceJet has no responsibility to make sure I as a passenger get my bags from the belly of the aircraft that carried my luggage and me to Mumbai. According to this fine gentleman, if I haven't got my bags at the conveyor belt, then it's my job to go on a detective spree across the airport and then city to locate my property. It's not like I paid for SpiceJet to carry my luggage or anything. It doesn't help that the Baggage Services desk is no longer picking up my calls. I've ended up writing this letter to you while waiting for them to first pick up and then return the phone to an area where it is not "unavailable". Perhaps they've saved my number in the contact book as She Who Thinks We're Responsible For Her Luggage (We're Not). (But you are. Just saying.)

Anyway, the long and short of it is, please give me my backpack back because just the thought of having to fight for compensation from SpiceJet is giving me anxiety attacks. Let us make possible backpack retrieval, not war with customer care.  

Thank you, 

Yours sincerely and hopefully, 

Deepanjana